Blog / Focus: New construction

Looking to design a new space? Key considerations in AV technology

By Jay Vigneau / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
September 4, 2019

In today’s buildings, AV touches all layers within the infrastructure to generate greater efficiency, optimization, wellbeing and sustainability. Yet frequently, the deployment of audiovisual systems can be undervalued and marginalized. The reality is that AV system design, installation, and support can affect tenant satisfaction, operational use and have become as important to a spaces design as other critical business systems. 

Audiovisual technology can be used within a building infrastructure to simply manage routine needs; for example, technicians can monitor the life of a projector’s bulb from an office at a remote location. Or it can be deployed across complex functions within a building’s infrastructure such as HVAC and lighting systems.

Anticipating audiovisual needs to help future-proof buildings, facilities, and AV systems with solutions that are easier and more economical to support is key. This way, as an organization grows and needs change, and AV technology evolves, infrastructure can quickly, easily, and cost-effectively support AV technology and systems expansions, modifications, and upgrades.

Providing pathways for future cabling and structural support in specific areas for displays can prevent opening walls in the future. Including spare network ports and using layer three managed switches during initial construction can also save money if and when audio-visual devices are added to the facility. It also means creative planning and design solutions that makes AV technology an integral part of the space—so technology upgrades seamlessly integrate and complement the design vision and efficacy of the intended spaces.

Unified communication

As we work more in distributed teams, whether across a campus or across the ocean, people struggle to build connections with coworkers when their places of employment don’t easily facilitate their interactions. Teams need places that allow them to see their teammates comfortably, hear each other clearly and share information easily so they can build social capital and the “shared mind” that is necessary to bring innovation to successful conclusion.

Aligning a cohesive AV strategy with the workplace strategy team and HR team helps to unify the experience of multiple employees, whether working across multiple locations or in a single office.

Unified communication is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging, presence information, telephony, and video conferencing with non-real-time communication services such as voice mail, email and text. Increasingly, people want choice and control when it comes to media and space, as they are connected 24/7 and need their devices and applications to work efficiently.

Hot desking, remote working, and collaboration via “bring your own everything” (BYOx) are shaping up to be key influencers. Yet not all employees want open floor plans with hot desking, however, citing openness as too noisy or distracting. And not all team members use the same tools. 

Audiovisual technology must be able to support collaboration across departments as well. It has to be seamless, able to connect people regardless of geography and support a flexible work environment 24/7. A variety of solutions need to be offered for different spaces; resident spaces, huddle rooms, cafés, training rooms, formal boardrooms, etc. One constant to consider is the software-based video conference solution that will be utilized. The hardware will change to fit the needs of the space, but the interface that the user interacts with should remain the same no matter if they will be working from home today, or from the home office tomorrow. 

In addition, the equation becomes considerably more complex when we add that today, data must be easily accessed anywhere to support collaboration. Top audiovisual trends that enhance collaboration include cloud-based solutions and vertical planes such as walls becoming displays and data capture devices.

How should building and technology managers strike the balance between AV that is flexible, practical, innovative and reliable?

Jay Vigneau, jay.vigneau@signetgroup.net, is a Senior Solutions Architect at SIGNET Electronic Systems, Inc. 

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